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briefs

Scam claims high Florida official

– Florida’s lieutenant governor resigned and nearly 60 other people were charged in a scandal involving a purported veterans charity that authorities said Wednesday was a front for a $300 million gambling operation.

The organization, Allied Veterans of the World, runs nearly 50 Internet parlors with computerized slot machine-style games.

Investigators said the charity was a fraud and executives gave precious little to veterans while lavishing millions on themselves, spending it on boats, beachfront condos and Maseratis, Ferraris and Porsches.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi called the alleged scam “callous” and “despicable” and said it “insults every American who ever wore a military uniform.”

Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll was not among those charged.

Gunman kills 4 in upstate New York

A man who neighbors said rarely spoke to them started a fire in his apartment and shot four people dead at a couple of businesses and then exchanged gunfire with police officers who surrounded an abandoned building where he apparently was holed up, authorities said.

Police officers were fired on from the upstate New York building on Wednesday afternoon while looking for 64-year-old Kurt Myers, state police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said. At least one officer returned fire, and later it was unknown if Myers was still alive, D’Amico said.

Police said Myers’ rampage started with a fire in his apartment in Mohawk about 9:30 a.m. D’Amico said Myers then drove to John’s Barber Shop around the corner and used a shotgun to kill two customers. The shop’s owner and another customer were wounded.

D’Amico said the gunman then drove to Gaffy’s Fast Lube in nearby Herkimer and used the shotgun to kill an employee and a customer.

Mom leaps 8 stories to death; baby lives

A woman clutching her baby son in her arms plunged eight stories out of a New York City apartment window to her death in an apparent suicide on Wednesday, but the baby survived, police said.

Cynthia Wachenheim was found on the street in West Harlem with her son, 10-month-old Keston, near her arms. A police officer who responded took the baby to a hospital, where he was in critical but stable condition.

Police found a seven-page suicide note in the apartment.

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